Guardian : Heathrow plot suspects kept files on violent jihad, jury hears

Monday, May 05, 2008

Heathrow plot suspects kept files on violent jihad, jury hears

Haroon Siddique and agencies | April 7, 2008

A gang accused of plotting to blow up seven transatlantic flights may have been inspired by the July 7 attacks in London, a court heard today.

Documents referring to the 2005 bombings, which killed 52 people, were found at the homes of two of the eight men charged with planning to explode homemade liquid explosives on planes leaving Heathrow Terminal 3, the jury was told.

Police searching the east London home of Umar Islam found photographs of the four suicide bombers and the "martyrdom" video of the July 7 gang's leader, Mohammed Siddique Khan.

A CD with references to Khan was found at the home of one defendant, Waheed Zaman, along with extremist essays referring to jihad and the September 11 attacks on the US, said the prosecutor, Peter Wright QC.

Wright described a third defendant, Mohammed Gulzar, as a "shadowy figure" and a leading person in the alleged plot.

Wright said Gulzar flew to the UK from South Africa on a false passport at short notice because the conspiracy was nearing its conclusion, but he did not intend to die in its implementation.

"He entered the UK as a radicalised Islamist pursuing a violent agenda," said Wright.

Gulzar stayed at an unfurnished east London house with few personal possessions.

A large number of distinctive Pakistani AA batteries of the same type found at the gang's bomb factory in Walthamstow were discovered at his house, the jury was told. The prosecution says the gang intended to use AA batteries to hide the detonators for their homemade explosives, which were to be concealed in soft drink bottles.

"He [Gulzar] led a spartan existence so as not to draw attention to himself in the prelude of what would be a violent and bloody statement of intent," said Wright.

The men deny conspiring to murder between January 1 and August 11 2006, and conspiring to commit an act of violence likely to endanger the safety of an aircraft between the same dates.

The accused are Ali, aka Ahmed Ali Khan, 27, of Walthamstow; Assad Sarwar, 27, of High Wycombe; Tanvir Hussain, 27, of no fixed address; Mohammed Gulzar, 26, of Barking; Ibrahim Savant, 27, of Walthamstow; Arafat Waheed Khan, 26, of Walthamstow; Zaman, 23, of Walthamstow; and Umar Islam, aka Brian Young, 29, of High Wycombe.